In case I haven't been obvious enough and you haven't heard, I entered the Amazon Storyteller UK 2018 contest with my novella Lu's Outing. So far in a contest with over 10,000 entries, the feedback has been fantastic and I am humbled by the support. As of this morning, it is currently ranked #157 based on average reviews. I am in awe of that.
I love that people are reading a work of mine that struggled to find a “traditional” home. Novella's are near impossible to sell and get representation for in the industry particularly as an “unknown.” This contest provided me with the opportunity to share what I believe is a great story. It was a pleasure to write, and from the reviews, a pleasure to read.
I have only ever felt this strongly about another piece I wrote which took me 20 years to find a home for. “When Night Falls” is a short story that I was determined to have published. I used to joke that if I didn’t find a home for it, I would have to build one for it. It was written to be read which may sound odd to many people, but there is writing that you are not always sure you want to share. You take a chance. Lu's Outing, I knew from the moment I wrote the first sentence was meant to find an audience. The characters exist in other stories I have written and I have started the process of writing another instalment that will have more adventures and insights in to the lives of the characters of Lu’s Outing.
I won't lie though, I was afraid because the platform that presented itself was a self publishing one. I worried about the opinions of my peers, and my friends. The behind the back sneers, the looks of "awww bless his little heart."I was worried about my own bias. I’m a writer, we have the neurosis, anxiety and doubt as an almost default function in our makeup. If you could think of a put down, we’ve already thought of twice as many. I had to push all that to one side and trust in the work. Remind myself of why I wrote it. How I felt writing it. Remember the smile it left on my face when I finished it and the feeling of being on the right track.
I also thought about the people in my life. I am blessed to be surrounded by creative types in all fields. Some have formal/ professional representation and some don't, yet they don't get the sneers that writers do for pursuing the same avenues. If an unsigned band goes into the studio and records an EP or album and plays live gigs, we buy the CD's or downloads. We tell our friends about them. We support them. When an artist paints a picture and sells them out of their home, through a website or a stall in a market, people buy them, they support them. When a performer puts on a show, we go, we support them, and we tell our friends. Yet, if a writer self publishes...tumbleweeds.
So first, thank you to all of those who have supported me thus far in this competition. Your supportive comments and reviews are everything. Those who have reached out and sent me messages have blessed me with a feeling that makes every moment of this competition worthwhile. If you haven’t read it or reviewed it yet the contest ends 31st August 2018 so there is time and you will have my infinite appreciation in addition to a cracking read.
For anyone in doubt as to the process of self publishing, it is time consuming. Hard is not even the word to describe it. I have had a baptism of fire with this competition and it has given me a tremendous amount of respect for those who pursue the self publishing route. This is not for the fainthearted and I feel ashamed for ever doubting how rewarding it can feel and how much respect we should be giving to those who pursue this avenue. I have taken each copy sold and each review written as a personal victory. More on my thoughts about the self publishing route to come after the contest ends.
If you think finding time to write is hard, try doing it when you are balancing promoting your book at all levels in this season which is notoriously difficult for writers to get any work done in. It has taught me new ways of balancing my writing time and cherishing it with a renewed sense of purpose.
A writer friend said to me that even if you don’t win, you have won. I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment and I couldn’t do it without the support of all of you.
Lu’s Outing is available on Amazon Worldwide in both kindle and paperback. Click here for various marketplaces.
John Lugo-Trebble considers this more of a space to engage personal reflections and memories with connections to music and film.